The United States has always been increasingly concerned about the need to grant citizens the right to carry guns. However, proponents and opponents of gun ownership operate irrelevant and inconsistent data; moreover, researchers and scholars lack effective methodology that would help establish the link between gun ownership and violence. Finally, the results of empirical research tend to be distorted by political moods, and unless research professionals are able to promote political neutrality and avoid bias, we will not come to unanimous agreement on whether gun ownership is a positive or a negative feature of a democratic state.
Public Policy Gun Control Introduction The American nation has always been increasingly concerned with regard to granting its citizens the right to carry concealed arms. The politics of gun control in the U. S. has been constantly changing, depending on the criminal situation and the rates of violence at any given period of time. In April 2007, however, when the shootings at Virginia Tech University became the cause of 32 student deaths, the topic of gun control has become particularly painful.
The problem whether to carry or not to carry firearms remains unsolved, and authorities seek to develop and implement a gun control policy that would satisfy all social and cultural groups. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the arguments and factors that underlie the current gun control debate. Given the amount of complexities that surrounds gun control policies and issues, and the diversity of opinions to which national population adheres, a detailed review of relevant literature may shed the light on the major gun debate controversies and suggest effective remedies to gun control issues.
The recent evolution of popular culture has become the source of increasing interest toward guns as the tools of personal protection or sports. In rural communities, households readily embrace the benefits of gun ownership for self-protection, hunting, and recreation; but whether carrying guns reduces or increases crime remains the topic of hot debate. Scholars cannot find unanimous agreement as for whether gun ownership produces positive or negative impacts on crime rates.
The truth is that we tend to operate irrelevant information. Profound research of literature reveals our complete unawareness about the causes of increasing violence, as well as the effects of carrying or not carrying a gun. Moreover, “the debate over gun control in America is organized by interest groups that favor stricter regulations and those that believe that all gun regulations violate the Second Amendment to the U. S. Constitution” (Bruce & Wilcox, 1998).
Neither proponents, nor opponents of gun control in the U. S. possess relevant information about the pros and cons of carrying a gun; as a result, the lack of relevant information and objective empirical research is the main obstacle on the way to deciding whether citizens should be granted the right to carry a gun. To carry or not to carry? Over the course of the centuries, this question has never been answered in a way that would favor and satisfy all parties in the gun control debate.
Opponents of gun ownership suggest that “laws restricting the sale and possession of guns can make life safer for everybody” (Lunger, 2002). With the increasing number of violent shootings, proponents of gun control laws tend to believe that gun ownership is the major cause of mass murders and thus should be restricted to protect society from violence. Certainly, one cannot deny that violent crime is one of the major problems in the U. S. ; violent crime represents one of the darkest sides of the American democracy.
The research, however, does not support the assumption that gun control policies reduce the rates of violent crimes in the country. Jacobs (2002) writes that although the rates of homicides, rapes, robberies, and violent assaults in the U. S. are much higher than in Britain or Australia, only a small fraction of these crimes are committed with the use of a gun. Statistical research suggests that 90 percent of all violent crimes in the U. S. are committed without any type of weapon at all (Jacobs, 2002).
Moorhouse and Wanner (2006) support this idea, and conclude that gun control policies are ineffective for reducing crime. The problem is that current gun policies do not cover the whole range of gun ownership issues. The scope of gun control policies is limited to the point, where the gun is being sold by the licensed dealer to customer (Moorhouse & Wanner, 2006). Simultaneously, firearms are long-term assets; many of them are passed from generations to generations.
As a result, whether to grant citizens with the right for gun ownership will not be clear unless researchers are able to establish a direct link between the rates of violent crimes and the rates of gun ownership and misuse. Both proponents and opponents of gun ownership use the need for saving people’s lives as the argument to defend their position. Gun ownership proponents advocate for the use of guns as the means to protect one’s life from criminal threats; opponents of gun ownership are confident that carrying guns increases the probability of weapon misuse, and as a result, the probability of an injury or death.
DIANE (1991) writes that there is overwhelming evidence that the handgun is the principal weapon of criminal misuse. Periods of increase in handgun acquisition appear to be associated with increases in firearms violence. Samples of handguns confiscated in a variety of urban areas implicate newer handguns as a disproportionate contributor to the offenses that lead to gun confiscation.